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Christian athlete Pistorius granted bail

After a four day hearing a judge in South Africa has ruled that Christian athlete Oscar Pistorius should be given bail. Supporters of the 26 year-old athlete shouted "yes" in the court in Pretoria, and members of his family wept at the news. The Paralypian is awaiting trial for the pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he claims he shot because he thought she was an intruder.

Magistrate Desmond Nair explained his reasons for granting bail:

"He's not a flight risk and that the accused does now show a propensity to commit violence. 

"The accused there is no evidence before me that he will interfere with state witnesses."

The next hearing in the case has been set for June the and bail was set at 1m rand (£72,000; $113,000).

His uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said after the decision:

"Although we are obviously relieved that Oscar has been granted bail, this is still a very sad time for the family of Reeva and for us. 

"We are grateful that the Magistrate recognised the validity and strength of our application. 

"As the family, we are convinced that Oscar's version of what happened on that terrible night will prove to be true." 

His uncle also said the family will lean on its Christian faith to get through the ordeal of his murder charge. The judge took almost two hours to deliver his judgement.

Andries Stander is a lawyer in Pretoria, he doesn't think the judges' decision will effect the overall trial.

He said:

"It's only been a week since the incident. The state in all probability is not nearly finished with its examination or its investigation into the matter. So much can still change before the matter goes to trial."

Mr Pistorius was ordered to hand over his passport, avoid his home in Pretoria and report to a police station every Monday and Friday. Pastor Errol Naidoo from the Family Policy Institute in Cape Town has been giving his reaction to the bail decision to Premier's Des Busteed:

The bail hearing began on Tuesday and both prosecution and defence laid out their cases. Prosecutors allege Mr Pistorius murdered his girlfriend after an argument at his Pretoria home in the early hours of February 14th. Detective Botha told the court that witnesses had heard shouting, screaming and gunfire from about 600m away. But later he changed his evidence to suggest the witnesses were much closer. On Thursday, the case attracted more controversy after it emerged that Detective Botha faces allegations of attempted murder, and he was replaced. The police officer who will take over as lead investigator on the Pistorius case is one of the force's most senior detectives, Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo. Twenty-nine year-old model Miss Steenkamp, who called herself 'a Child of God' on her Twitter profile, had been shot a number of times. She died at the scene.

Mr Pistorius, known as 'blade runner', was the first double amputee to run in the Olympics and is one of the most famous athletes in the world - winning multiple Paralympic gold medals. He also made history at London 2012 - becoming the first amputee athlete to take part in the Olympic Games. The Johannesburg athlete was born without fibulas in his legs and had the limbs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He had to win a legal battle over his blades with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2008 for the right to compete in able-bodied competition.

He grew up in a Christian home and one of his tattoos is the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:26 which begins, "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly". He has been quoted as saying he needs Christ in his life 'because he is the reason for my success and the one that takes me from strength to strength. Christ makes all the difference. He aids me in my struggles and makes my glories that much greater'. On February 11th he retweeted: "When you start focusing on a loving God who's given everything stop focusing on what seems to be going wrong, you will see breakthrough."

Sportswear firm Nike suspended its contract with the athlete yesterday.

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